Fencing, aliens and rain!

This week work continued on putting up the shade cloth in the new sable camps, with the job almost complete. The results from the sable dung samples revealed that levels of wormswere low, good news for the team.

As part of the pioneering brown hyaena project,and the release from their temporary boma last November, the Askari team have been recording the locations of the collared hyaenas using GPS. Early in the week the team went to these recorded GPS positions, recording information such as the vegetation type and evidence of hyaena presence such as footprints, scat and pastings. It was an exciting find when one of the GPS positions led us to a hyaena resting spot within a rocky outcrop on the side of a hill. All of this data is vital in understanding more about hyaena movements, habitat choices and behaviours.

A trip to Langa Langa to carry out alien plantcontrol on the invasive prickly pear required some careful maneuvering to avoid the spikes of the plant while injecting herbicide into the base. Although a large area was covered, many more prickly pears have been recorded on the reserve and controlling this alien plant will be a continuous task. The team will return to the area in a few weeks to see if the measures taken here have been successful.

After the sweltering heat, hitting 41 degrees last week, Wednesday brought the first rains of the season and temperatures have dropped dramatically. Thunder roars and lightening flashes through the sky. The weather has hindered the planned activities of the week, including the darting and movement of Sable to their new camp. When the weather is this cold, it is not advisable to dart the animals.

The Askari team braved the weather to complete a route drive, navigating through muddy roads and recording the animals observed, including a yellow billed hornbill feasting on termites as they desperately tried to mend the hole created in their termite mound by the heavy rains.

The Askari team braved the rain this week to continue with the bush sleep out in the north section of Pidwa. Choosing to go out in the rain to set up base with everyone pitching up tent for the night…and also do a spot of fishing. The heavens opened soon after the team pitched up but the rain soon drifted over to all gather around the fire

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